Lineal champion Tyson Fury has lost the final heavyweight title in his possession – the coveted Ring Magazine or ‘Rocky’ belt.
Inactive Fury, despite being on the comeback trail, has also been removed from The Ring ratings system as he continues preparations to return.
The 29 year-old had signalled his intention to defend the strap in April, which would have had to have been against the only available contender – Alexander Povetkin, although the Russian is set to fight David Price on the undercard of UK rival Anthony Joshua’s clash with Joseph Parker on March 31.
Explaining their decision, The Ring’s Editor Doug Fischer stated: There have been a variety of obstacles which prevented the unbeaten Englishman from defending the championship over the past 26 months. Among them was the ill-fated Klitschko rematch, Fury’s mental health issues, a UKAD investigation and the revocation of his British boxing license.
With all these issues now cleared, THE RING set a deadline (January 31) for Fury to reveal an opponent. However, no such announcement has been made by the fighter’s promoter, hence the decision to remove Fury as champion. Fury will also be removed from THE RING heavyweight rankings for the time being.
We at THE RING would like to make it clear that this decision had not been taken lightly. THE RING championship belt is the closest representation to a lineal champion in the sport today, and Tyson Fury was extremely proud to be part of our heavyweight history.
We deeply regret separating from the lineal championship and we would hope that fans appreciate our reasons for giving Tyson every opportunity over the past two years. We wish our former champion the very best for the future and we will be happy to re-rank him when appropriate.
The tag of being recognised as the best top division fighter in the world may not be of any comfort to Fury though, and follows on from a knockback from Joshua regarding a super-fight in 2018.
An opponent for Fury’s next outing is expected this month.